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News Archive 2013


Water Voles Information
An information board about water voles has been set up near Patch Bridge. This celebrates the work of the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, the Canal & River Trust and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust to protect the nearby colony of water voles.

Rising Bollard
After a long period out of action, the rising bollard at the southern end of the walk-way alongside the Victoria Dock is working again. This ensures that only permit holders can park their cars around the northern end of the Dock.

Gloucester Tall Ships Festival
Huge crowds thronged the docks over the weekend 24-27 May 2013 to see five tall ships, other smaller craft and a wide range of land based entertainment. (Photos)

Awards for Gloucester Projects
Two Gloucester projects featured in the 2013 Waterways Renaissance Awards which recognise exceptional projects that are helping to care for canals and rivers across the UK. The regeneration of Gloucester Docks won the award for Area-Based Regeneration, and the Friends of the Gloucester Waterways Museum were runners up in both the Education & Learning and Historic Environment categories for their restoration of the Museum's steam dredger.

Two New Units Open
The two units at the west end of the Barge Arm apartments opened for business on 23 May. One houses the Barge Restaurant serving English food, and the other is the Silent Water gifts, jewellery and home style shop.

Fire Brigade Exercise
Gloucestershire firefighters held a large-scale exercise in the docks on 21 May to test their ability to fight fires during a water shortage. With 14 fire engines and high-volume pumps, crews pumped water through more than two miles of hose which delivered the water back to the dock. (Citizen 23 May 2013)

Preparing a New Lounge
Work has started on converting the former Llanthony Mill on the corner of Llanthony Rd and Merchants Rd to a new lounge for the Loungers chain based in Bristol. The aim is to provide a neighbourhood food-led cafe/bar with a relaxed environment.

Hoardings Painted
Following protests about plain chipboard hoardings over the empty units in the Merchants Quay building, City Council leader Paul James has persuaded the developers to paint the boards blue. (Citizen 9 May 2013)

Boat Explosion
An explosion ripped the roof off a small cabin cruiser at Sharpness Marina on 6 May and caused a woman to be thrown overboard. Fire and ambulance crews rushed to the scene, and the woman was treated for minor injuries. (Citizen 7 May 2013)

Kathleen & May Export Licence
The three-masted topsail schooner Kathleen & May, which once traded to Gloucester and has attended Gloucester Tall Ship Festivals, is due to be sold to the Middle East, although the Arts Council has delayed the export licence until June in the hope that funds can be raised to keep her in the UK. A Liverpool group is setting up a trust, but raising large sums takes time, and the South West Maritime History Society is lobbying the Arts Council to change the way such matters are handled. (ePetition)

Flowers by Llanthony Bridge
The window box on Llanthony Bridge cabin and the nearby plant box have been painted by a CRT volunteer, and they have been filled with a variety of flowering plants.

Red Wheel for Docks
A Red Wheel plaque provided by the Transport Trust was unveiled by Waterways Manager Nick Worthington on 27 April in the presence of the Mayor of Gloucester and members of the Trust. The plaque, near the entrance to the Waterways Museum, recognises that Gloucester has the best preserved 19th century inland port in the country. (Photo: Ray Wilson)

Museum Grant Approved
The Gloucester Waterways Museum has been given a Stage 1 grant of 60,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to help prepare a Stage 2 bid for a grant of almost 1 million. The project includes developing displays about the rivers and canals between the Midlands and the Bristol Channel, building a new entrance and shop in front of the existing building and refurbishing the barge Sabrina as an educational facility.

Fire-boat Restored
After a major restoration by T Nielsen & Co, the famous Thames fire-boat Massey Shaw was prepared for lifting on to a lorry on 24 April. After being launched at Sharpness, it returned to Gloucester for fitting out in the small dry dock. (Photo: Mike Wood)

New Exhibition Open
A new permanent exhibition at the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum was opened by rugby star Mike Tindall on 16 April. It is dedicated to life in the modern army and features the essential 'black bag' which is issued to all soldiers going to Afghanistan. (Citizen 17 Apr 2013)

Waterways Museum Reunion
A reunion of past and present members of staff was held at the Waterways Museum on 13 April to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Museum's opening. Those attending included most of the original management team that set up the Museum in 1988.

Odd Couple in Dry Dock
On 9 April, the dry dock at Sharpness was occupied by the motor barge Wye Invader and the tall ship Pelican of London. The barge became notorious when it was taken up the Wye to Hereford over twenty years ago and the tall ship provides adventure voyages for young people. (Photo: Mike Nash)

Offices Plan
The owner of the Lock Warehouse has applied for planning permission to use the ground floor of the building for offices as he has not managed to attract any shops or restaurants to the available units. (App Ref 13/00284)

Musical Creation Afloat
Citizen reporter Mike Williamson and composer Nicholas Keyworth are using a boat moored in the Victoria Dock as a place to finalise a musical set against the backdrop of the war in Bosnia in the 1980s. Following pilot performances at the Edinburgh Festival and elsewhere which were well received, the pair are writing additional songs for a production destined for the West End. (Citizen 3 Apr 2013)

Barber in Weighbridge House
Leigh Phillips has opened a barber's shop in the former weighbridge house beside the Southgate St entrance to the docks. Leigh formerly operated from a shop on the other side of Southgate St. (Citizen 2 Apr 2013)

Tall Ships For Gloucester Festival
Ships confirmed for the Festival over the late Spring Bank Holiday weekend include the brigantine Phoenix, screw schooner Amazon, replica of John Cabot's Matthew, gaff-rigged Ruth and three-masted La Belle Angele. (Website)

Barge Elver at Work
The motorised former mud hopper Elver has started to carry construction materials for a sub-station being constructed by Western Power Distribution to the south of Cambridge Arms Bridge. The barge is expected to make about 100 trips, bringing stone to the site and taking earth away. (Photo)

New Orchard
Volunteers have helped CRT to plant twenty new apple and pear trees beside the canal at Parkend. (Citizen 26 Mar 2013)

Double Divers
Two diving teams were working at Gloucester on 26 March. While one team was replacing a damaged paddle rod at the lock, a second team was clearing an obstruction preventing sealing of the large dry dock gates.

Lottery Cash for Museum
The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum has been awarded a grant of 493,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to revamp existing displays and take new learning programmes out into the community. The Museum has also been given 94,000 by the people of the South Korean city of Paju as thanks for the Glorious Glosters role in the Battle of Imjin River. (Citizen 19 Mar 2013)

Kaskelot for Overhaul
The tall ship Kaskelot, recently sold by the Square Sail Co, arrived at Sharpness on 17 March. (Photo) On the following day, she passed up the canal to Gloucester to be overhauled by T Nielsen & Co in preparation for a long voyage.

Berkeley Boilers
The last two boilers from the decommissioned Berkeley Power Station have left Sharpness on a pontoon barge for Avonmouth, there to be transferred to a sea-going vessel for onward shipment to Sweden for recycling.

New Role for Transient
The huge motor barge Transient, which a few years ago was due to carry aggregate from Ryall, near Upton-on-Severn to the Cemex concrete plant at Two Mile Bend, has found a new role on the Thames. Now owned by S Walsh & Sons and renamed Thurrock, the barge mainly carries concrete and building waste materials between the Greenwich peninsular and Pitsea Wharf between Dartford and Gravesend. (IWA Waterways Spring 2013)

Personal Contact with CRT
From 4 March, CRT stopped staffing their Dock Office reception. Instead, sanitary station keys, electric or pump-out cards, long term boat licences and information about local canals can be obtained in person from the Gloucester Waterways Museum reception.

New Plans for Bakers Quay
Plans have been prepared for the multi-million pound refurbishment of the derelict buildings at the south end of Bakers Quay and the redevelopment of the surrounding land. Rokeby Developments are proposing that the former Foster Brothers Mill and Downings Malthouse extension be converted to housing by Crest Nicholson, that the Malthouse in Merchants Rd becomes an area for new food and drink outlets, that the Foster Brothers engine house becomes a Brewers Fare family restaurant and that new buildings nearby would include an 80-bed Premier Inn Hotel and a Costa Drive Thru. (Citizen 2 Mar 2013)

Drinking Fountain Inscription
Thanks to Gloucester City Council and Gloucester Civic Trust, stones have been removed from around the base of the historic drinking fountain beside the Commercial Rd entrance to the docks to reveal an inscription saying Gloucester Local Board of Health 1863. Merchants had requested a supply of water for the benefit of their workers, and it was also much used for filling ship's water casks.

Ecclesiastical Pull Out
Ecclesiastical Insurance has called off its agreement to build new headquarters on the current car park between the Victoria Dock and Southgate St. The group blamed the current economic conditions and the extremely challenging office construction market in the region. (Citizen 22 Feb 2013)

Under Secretary Visits Docks
Lord De Mauley, parliamentary under secretary at the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, visited the docks on 18 February accompanied by Gloucester MP Richard Graham. They called at the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum and the Furniture Recycling Centre. (Citizen 20 Feb 2013)

Sims Bridge
CRT staff started replacing the decking of Sims Bridge on 14 February. It was still possible to cross the bridge during occasional breaks in the work.

Hoarding on Bakers Quay
The Canal & River Trust has applied for planning permission to erect hoarding along the southern end of Bakers Quay to prevent access to their narrow strip of property along the canal frontage which is considered to be subject to a health & safety risk due to the poor condition of the adjoining listed buildings. (App Ref 13/00072)

Beer By Tricycle
Gloucester Brewery is using a pedalled tricycle to deliver beers around the city centre. Use of the tricycle, which can carry six casks weighing 50kg each, reduces the company's carbon footprint and improves staff fitness levels. (Citizen 1 Feb 2013)

Swallow at Gloucester
Historic tug Swallow is currently based in the Victoria Dock, having previously had a mooring near Parkend Bridge. Built in 1937 by James Pollock Sons & Co Ltd at Faversham, she worked on the River Lee, the Regents Canal and the Thames until the late 1960s. (Photo)

Regus in North Warehouse
The Regus Group opened a suite of serviced offices in the North Warehouse on 28 November. Gloucester City Council still have their council chamber and civic suite on the top floor.

Sweep Visits Docks
A narrow boat with a sweep's brush attached at the stern visited Gloucester Docks on 27 January. It belongs to certified sweep Graham Little who trades as Severnside Sweeps, tel 07415 744261. (Photo)

Fire Dowsed by Canal Water
Thousands of gallons of canal water were used to fight a major fire in an empty building in St Ann Way on 27 January. The building had been used as offices during the construction of the Gloucester Quays outlet centre. (Citizen 28 Jan 2013)

Towpath Rangers
The Canal & River Trust are looking for volunteer Towpath Rangers, based at Gloucester Docks and Saul Junction, to befriend all users of the canal and to help improve the towpath and areas around canal bridges. (More details)

Rowing Club Boost
Following the success of Team GB rowers in the Olympics, membership of Gloucester Rowing Club is up significantly on last year. The beginners course in September was flooded with applicants and there is a waiting list for the next course in April. (Citizen 16 January)

Nursery in Former Pub
The former Sir Colin Campbell pub in Llanthony Rd reopened as a children's nursery for 0-5 year olds on 14 January. Known as Into-play @ the Quays, it is an off-shoot of the established Into-play nursery in Longlevens.

Coal Boats on Canal
Narrow boats Bletchley and Argus made one of their regular visits in early January to deliver coal to customers at various locations along the canal. To order coal or diesel for a future visit, phone Peter Hawker on 07984 900613.

Painting Trip Boat
At R W Davis & Son's yard at Saul Junction, a ten-seater passenger boat is being painted in the livery of the Cotswold Canals Trust. From Easter, it is due to run trips, including private charters, along the newly-restored stretch of the Stroudwater Canal at Ebley.

Boat Fire
Two fire engines from Stroud attended a fire on the houseboat Eccles David moored at Saul late on 1 January. The owner was alerted by a smoke detector and attempted to tackle the blaze, but he was forced to evacuate and later needed treatment for smoke inhalation. (Citizen 3 Jan 2013) 

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